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Kings television deal could be reworked as part of Sacramento effort

Apr 22, 2011, 11:40 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

If it’s all about the television deal, Sacramento still has hope. Comcast is willing to talk.

One of the key reasons the Kings owners — the Maloof brothers — reportedly wanted out of Sacramento was a bad television deal, something they could do much better with in the massive Southern California market.

But an official with Comcast told the Sacramento Bee they’d be willing to talk renegotiation of that deal to get the Kings more money.

Adding to the drama Thursday, the general manager of the TV network that broadcasts Kings games, Larry Eldridge of Comcast SportsNet California, told The Bee that his station is willing to increase the value of its contract with the team if it stays in Sacramento…. He said the station was willing to negotiate a new agreement with the Kings but wouldn’t comment on how much more CSN might pay for rights fees.

The current deal has been reported as netting the Kings roughly $11 million a year. Eldridge said a new deal could be significantly more lucrative for the Kings.

Reportedly the deal the Kings have struck in Southern California — at least as a stopgap for a year — is a $20 million deal with KDOC, an obscure and little-watched Southern California channel. KDOC just happens to be partially owned by Henry Samueli, who also operates the Honda Center and had set up a $50 million loan to the Kings as part of the move.

If Comcast upped the Kings offer, would the gap be that great?

There seems to be a real optimism around Sacramento that the city is pushing hard to save the team while the financial deal in Anaheim is a house of cards. The NBA appears to be doing a serious investigation of both sides of this deal.

But in the end, it’s still about the building.

Even if the Kings stay for another year, they would be on a strict timeline to get plans, financing and more in place for a new arena. There have been several failed attempts to get a new building approved in Sacramento and David Stern has said that is the ultimate issue. A number of the NBA group meetings were about a potential new building.

But now there is hope in Sacramento, and there was not that a couple weeks ago.

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